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Vanilla Technical Session | Pruning the Support Tree

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A vanilla farmer cutting some branches off the support tree

By Piero Bianchessi, Former Owner and Operator of Venui Vanilla

Goal  : to control the amount of shade over the vanilla plants

When : all year round, on a rotation basis and every time the shade grows above 50%. Prune when the branches are young and easy to handle.

Tools : (1) pruning saw (2) bush ladder 

FACTS : Vanilla plants need to be lightly shaded to thrive. Too much shade OR full sun exposure is harmful to the plant. ON A ROTATION a few branches should be pruned on each tree, allowing new shoots to grow before cutting more branches.


NEVER prune all the branches at once


  • (1) Using a pruning saw neatly cut a few branches off the support tree leaving enough branches to shade the vanilla. Prune the branches close to the initial shaping.
  • (2) Cut up the young branches and put them around the mulch (not on top of the mulch) to supply nitrogen.


  • (1) Neatly cut some branches off the support tree using a pruning saw.
  • (2) Put the branches and their foliage (cut up) around the mulch (not on top of it).

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